Children in England and Wales are being taught sex and relationships in a way that doesn’t teach them about gender equality, the head of the country’s biggest sex education charity has said.
The Department for Education said it had spent more than £1.4m since 2010 to “modernise” the way the curriculum is taught in schools.
But the BBC has discovered that just 4% of primary and secondary schools are fully gender balanced, and children are being given inaccurate information on sex and intimacy.
What is sex education and why is it so important?
It is a complex topic.
A basic understanding of sex is essential for the health of any young person.
The sexual acts between two people of the same gender are not always equal.
They can be painful, and some of the most intimate parts of a relationship are not taught at all.
What do we know about sex and how do we teach it?
The most important parts of sex education include: “The anatomy of sex” (how sex develops) and “how you and your partner interact with each other in sex” (how you make love).
“Sexual health” (the health risks of sex) and the “relationship and sexual health” area (what sex means to you).
“Understanding the impact of sex on people of different genders” – these topics should be taught at primary school.
“Sex education in schools is based on a wide range of different materials, including texts, videos and other media.
These range from primary, secondary and tertiary levels, and cover everything from contraception to how to manage erections.
What are the differences between sex education in primary schools and secondary school?
In primary schools, sex education is based in the curriculum.
In secondary schools, it is up to each school to decide what they teach, and how they teach it.
The curriculum includes information on contraception, sexual health, sexual activity and contraception, as well as sexuality and gender identity.
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) said: “We are working hard to make sure all children in England receive quality and balanced sex education.
We are also investing in our national schools to ensure children from all backgrounds are fully involved.
“What are sex education requirements in England?
For primary school students, the curriculum needs to be about the basics of sex, like how it works, and the benefits and risks of contraception.
It is then up to secondary schools to decide how they will teach this, and where it will be taught.
What do we need to know about contraception?
A contraceptive is a substance that prevents pregnancy.
It can be used to prevent STIs, like HIV, and for contraception, like condoms.
There are a range of contraceptive options, with the most common being a hormonal pill or patch, and a patch or injection.
When is sex and gender education compulsory?
From 6 to 12 years old, it’s compulsory for girls and boys to learn about sex in the same classroom.
From 15 to 18 years old and above, it can be compulsory for boys and girls to learn the same thing.
How many schools are gender balanced?
Around 1,200 primary schools in England, including some that are under scrutiny for their sex education, are gender balance, with around 400 of these being fully gender-balanced.
Where do I go to have sex?
Sex education is compulsory in schools across England and in some secondary schools.
Wherever possible, it should be in the context of heterosexual and same-sex relationships.
Why is it important to have gender balance in sex education for children?
Gender balance means that, at least in primary and some secondary education, there are no children who do not know their gender.
That means children can be given information about sex that will help them understand their gender and how to navigate a relationship with a partner of the opposite gender.
This is important because children are often confused about what sex is and how it develops, and it is a difficult topic for children to understand.
In schools, teaching is more often about what to do in a relationship.
They are more likely to learn more about sexuality, including how to talk about sex, how to make love, and whether it is safe to have a sexual relationship with someone of the other gender.
What should I do if I feel uncomfortable in a school sex education class?
If you feel uncomfortable with a sex education lesson or feel that the content is not appropriate for your age or background, you can talk to the principal.
You can also speak to a teacher who will explain how the lesson is going to be carried out.